1. Sawney Bean
Having slightly inspired the Hills Have Eyes, the Sawney Bean family is Scotland’s most infamous group of cannibals. The Bean family was said to have terrorized the surrounding area of the Ashyhire and Galloway coast for over 25 years.
Mr. Bean was said to have been born around the late 13th century, being a ditch digger and trader by day, he never enjoyed the days working to earn money and much preferred the idea of robbing people to get by; so he and his wife left society and decided to live in a cave where they raised a family of 14 while also indulging in murder, cannibalism, and incest which only increased the body count and their family members.
The cave’s entrance where they made home was hidden by the ocean’s tide during the day, but at night, the mouth of the cave was open once the tide would leave. For years, the Bean family would prey on those who wandered through the forests at night and it is estimated they had killed over a hundred people — but the exact number is unknown.
People began to go missing and more and more body parts started to wash ashore, but everything was going fairly well for the Bean family…until one night, they attacked a couple going home from a fair. The man put up a good fight, but couldn’t save his wife who was killed and gutted on the spot. The man notified the police. When news broke about the crazed family, King James the 1st sent an army to kill the cannibals. As they searched late into the night, they found nothing. They were about to call it quits when the dogs picked up the scent of rotting flesh from the cave’s entrance.
When the soldiers entered into the cave, they found hundreds of bones, severed limbs and sheets of flesh scattered around. After a quick fight, the family was captured and all were all sentenced to suffer a painful death as the other family members looked on. The men were beaten and had their limbs sawed off and the women and children were stoned or burned at the stake.
2. The Axeman Of New Orleans
Season 3 of American Horror Story had some fun with this. The Axeman was said to have attacked 13 people — eight dying from the injuries sustained in the attacks.
The Axeman’s killing spree started in the month of May 1918. The killer would visit the house of his victims and chisel out a panel in the back door. The killer would always leave the murder weapon and chisel blocks as his call sign. He would mainly attack couples and always used a weapon he found around the victim’s house, whether it be a razor blade or an axe.
As the attacks began to ratchet up, the town was left completely terrified of where and when the next attack would occur. One day, the police received a letter from the Axeman claiming to be from hell. The killer demanded his letter be published in the newspapers and he made a proposition stating that he would spare anyone who played Jazz music loudly after midnight.
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know whom they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.
If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am, for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don‘t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.
Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.
Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people. Here it is:
I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.
Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.
The day the letter was published the townspeople played Jazz all night and like the killer promised, no one was murdered. That seemed to be the end as it went quiet, but months later, the attacks would start again. The last Axeman victim was named Michael Pepitone. His wife heard noises coming from the room and then saw a man rush out and push past her. When police arrived the woman acted strangely calm and claimed to have seen the man, but couldn’t give a description other than that he was wearing a suit.
A year later in Los Angeles, Mrs. Pepitone shot a man named Joseph Mumfre and watched him die before phoning the police. She calmly waited for the police to arrive and when questioned as to why she did it, she claimed the man she shot was the man who murdered her husband. When police began to bring up files on Joseph Mumfre, evidence did support this theory as he was a career criminal who had been in and out of prison around the locations of where the Axe man killings took place, but hard evidence ever came to light.
On March 22, 1922, a family of five and their maid were brutally murdered with a pickaxe. The oldest of the victims was 72 and the youngest being only two-years-old.
Footprints appeared from out of the woods coming towards the barn, but none going back. When their maid quit claiming the farm was evil, the family hired a new maid and when random newspapers began to show up and items went missing over a few days such as the house key. One might would want to look around the place or become suspicious, but no one in the family would have expected what would happen to them.
One night, each family member was said to have been lured into the barn and then hacked to death with a pickaxe. The maid and the two-year-old were murdered in their rooms and then covered with blankets.
The killer(s) then decided to live in the house for a few days as if it was their own, careless to the fact that family bodies lay dismembered only a few feet away.
Neighbors and friends became suspicious as the family wasn’t seen, but they did see smoke coming out of the chimney. When the children didn’t show up for school the following Monday, police arrived and found the bodies of the family stacked on top of each other in the barn and the bodies of the maid and child upstairs in their respective rooms.
Robbery was not considered a motive as there was money and jewelry around the house. The killer was said to have lived in the house and even fed the animals while there. The crime remains unsolved, but in 2007, a new investigation was launched and a main suspect was chosen. Since the suspect was dead, the name of the suspect was never released out of respect for still-living relatives.
Probably the most recent and disturbing story out of the bunch, in 2011 Anatoly Moskvin, a self-described mummy expert was arrested and admitted to digging up the graves of over 150 children ranging in ages three to 12. He would take the bodies’ home and go through a mummification process, emptying their bodies and wrapping the children up in fabrics before dressing them in different costumes to decorate his house as if they were dolls.
He had a total of 29 bodies in his cluttered house along with multiple wedding dresses, costumes, birthday party accessories, and even instructions of how to make dolls from human remains printed out. A quick search online will bring up multiple news articles and images of the “dolls” from his house along with a disturbing video he recorded where he gives a tour of his home.
4. Carl Tanzler
Carl Tanzler was a radiologist who worked at a military hospital located in the Key West area of Florida. He was a smart and successful man, but was completely demented.
One day at work, he met a young woman named Elena who he felt was his soulmate (according to the vision of his deceased grandparents). Elena came in the hospital very sick and after a few years of struggling to fight off the sickness, she lost her battle and died of Tuberculosis. Tanzler was devastated by the loss, but never stopped loving her. He paid for her funeral and built an expensive mausoleum with a locked door where only he had the key. He would visit the mausoleum nearly every night and spend hours in there.
Eventually Tanzler couldn’t stand the fact that he was separated from Elena, so he snuck in one night and took her body back to his house where he tried to rebuild her decomposing body with wires, rags, glass eyes, human hair and wax. He even went so far as to insert a tube between her legs for sex.
The body of Elena stayed in his room for seven years, until a boy saw Tanzler with a very strange looking large “doll.” When people began to talk, Elena’s sister went up to the room and discovered that the doll was actually her decomposed sister.
Carl Tanzler then went through a very public trial, but the statute of limitations cleared Tanzler of any crimes and he was let go. Even though the trial he still demanded that the body Elena be returned to him. He even tried to build a spacecraft with the intent of sending the body of Elena to space in hopes of the radiation somehow bringing her back to life.